Why do plumbing pipes freeze during winter? That's a question many clients ask us during this time of the year. Well, it's simple: Water freezes due to extremely cold temperatures, causing it to expand. The real problem is not so much frozen water in the pipes, but the fact that metal or plastic water pipes don't expand. Frozen pipes are at risk of bursting, which can result in a costly plumbing bill, and possible property damage.
If you're wondering what you can do to prevent frozen pipes this winter, keep on reading. Anta Plumbing has been a Toronto plumber of choice for many residents and businesses in the GTA for decades, and we have accumulated significant knowledge of the region, as well as the weather patterns and common plumbing issues. We know how to avoid frozen pipes and will let you in on our best tips.
Warmth Prevents Frozen Pipes
1. Keep your pipes warm to prevent them from freezing. UL-endorsed tape with a built-in thermostat wrapped around exposed pipes can further help prevent over-heating. Simply wrap the tape around your pipes, or run it along the length, depending on the manufacturer's instructions.
2. Use a heated reflector lamp only in dry, enclosed areas during cold nights. Check on it to ensure it is safe and working.
3. Use specially designed foam rubber insulation on exposed pipes, but make sure that there are no gaps. You can wrap duct tape around any gaps where the corners meet. While insulation does not necessarily prevent freezing, it does slow down the heat to cold transfer rate.
4. Install a thermal convection-powered hot water recirculation valve to bypass the drain while circulating warm water through your water lines. This device does not require electricity.
Eliminate Freezing Risks
When you winterize your plumbing system, don't forget your drain lines in the bathroom and kitchen.
● Insulate drain lines as you would insulate incoming water pipes.
● Open the doors to cabinets beneath bathroom and kitchen sinks to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
● Place a heat lamp on the drain P-traps when it is especially cold.
● If you lose electric power on very cold days, open faucets to a slow constant drip to keep water moving through the pipes.
Prevent Frozen Pipes If You're Leaving Home
If you're planning on going out of town for three or more days, you may be tempted to turn off the heat, however that can cause your pipes to freeze. Try these tips instead:
● Adjust your thermostat to 55F to keep the temperature in your home above freezing point and to allow sufficient warm air to circulate.
● Drain your water lines, both inside and out. Start by turning off your main shut off valve and then turning on your taps to allow water to run out of the pipes. Don't forget to run the washing machine, ice machine and dishwasher until water runs out too.
● Test the sump pump and add a backup battery in the event that you may lose power during bad weather.
These tips should keep your pipes from freezing this winter. However, Anta Plumbing will be on standby, just incase you need us.